Three senior police officials are vying to be the next Philippine National Police chief to replace General Oscar Albayalde, who will retire next month, Senator Christopher Go said Friday.
Police Lieutenant Generals Archie Gamboa and Camilo Cascolan, along with Police Major General Guillermo Eleazar, were in President Rodrigo Duterte’s shortlist, Go said.
He said the three were the President’s “possible choices based on seniority.”
Gamboa, Cascolan, and Eleazar will be promoted due to the retirement of Lt. Gen. Fernando Mendez, who is the Deputy Chief for Administration and number two man in the police force.
On Saturday, Gamboa will assume the post of Mendez, while Cascolan will take Gamboa’s place as Deputy Chief for Operations.
Cascolan, who is Chief Directorial Staff, will be replaced by Eleazar, who is the current National Capital Region police chief.
Gamboa and Cascolan are members of the Philippine Military Academy Batch ‘86 and are set to retire next year. Eleazar, on the other hand, is a member of PMA Batch ‘87.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, who chairs the National Police Commission, earlier said he will submit the list of contenders for the top PNP post to the President not later than Oct. 20.
In an ambush interview, Eleazar said he does not see his promotion as a step closer to becoming PNP chief, despite being Metro Manila’s top cop.
Meanwhile, the Department of Justice has issued subpoenas to the 13 so-called ninja cops to attend the reinvestigation on Oct. 16 and submit additional evidence on their 2013 drug raid in Mexico, Pampanga.
In a related development, Eleazar said authorities have referred a murder complaint against alleged drug queen Guia Gomez Castro before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office, in connection with the killing of a certain ninja cop allegedly done by Castro in 2011.
The ninja cops issue is hurting Albayalde’s reputation, less than a month before his retirement on Nov. 8, with three senators saying Thursday there was enough evidence to charge him with graft.
Albayalde is seeking legal assistance from former Solicitor General and Secretary of Justice Estelito Mendoza, a fellow Pampanga native, amid accusations that he was involved in the anomalous drug raid in which a drug lord was allegedly allowed to flee, and almost 200 kilos of confiscated shabu were supposedly not declared.
One of the country’s eminent lawyers, Mendoza has successfully defended such personalities as former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Senator Ramon Revilla Jr.
In a statement, Albayalde said he is seeking Mendoza’s help as he plans to file charges against former generals who had allegedly given “false” testimony against him in a Senate inquiry.
Summoned to attend the morning hearing at the DOJ were police officials and officers Superintendent (current rank Police Major) Rodney Raymundo Louie Baloyo IV, Senior Inspector Joven de Guzman Jr., Senior Police Officer 1 Jules Maniago, SPO1 Donald Roque, SPO1 Ronald Santos, SPO1 Rommel Muñoz Vital, SPO1 Eligio Valeroso, Police Officer 3 Dindo Dizon, PO3 Gilbert de Vera, PO3 Encarnacion Guerrero Jr., PO2 Anthony Loleng Lacsamana, and PO3 Dante Dizon.
The panel of prosecutors, comprised of Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Alexander Suarez, and Assistant State Prosecutors Josie Christina Dugay and Gino Paolo Santiago, issued the summons on Oct. 9.
The reinvestigation will focus on their alleged violation of the Republic Act 9165, particularly on Sections 27 (misappropriation), 29 (planting), and 32 (custody and disposition) that were dismissed in 2017.
Dismissed drug complaints filed before the DOJ are subjected to automatic review.
The reinvestigation was triggered by the revelations at the Senate’s Blue Ribbon hearing about a questionable drug raid that took place in 2013 in Pampanga.
Baloyo and his men allegedly carted away 160 kilograms of shabu seized in the raid and declared only 38 kilos had been confiscated.
They are also accused of releasing the drug trafficker Johnson Lee in exchange for P50 million.
The 13 policemen, instead of being dismissed, were merely demoted one rank.
Retired police generals, such as current Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong and Rudy Lacadin, and Philippine Drug Enforcement Authority director general Aaron Aquino, during the Senate hearing, reportedly said Albayalde benefitted from the pilfering of millions worth of illegal drugs.
At the time of the police operation, the 13 reported ninja cops were subordinates of Albayalde, who was then the Pampanga police director.
On Wednesday, the Senate ordered the arrest of SPO1 Santos, who failed to attend the Senate hearings. With Macon Ramos-Araneta and PNAREAD: Duterte: Investigate AlbayaldeREAD: PNP to undergo major reshuffle; Albayalde retires in November
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